If Israel has a Chez Panisse, it's probably Reviva & Celia, which opened in Ramat haSharon, just north of Tel Aviv, in 1988 and now has a branch in the city (none are kosher; this story predates my kosher-keeping days). It's the kind of place where even as a way-out-of-towner you'll bump into multiple people who seem to know you and have opinions on what you should order. That's how I became acquainted with a menu item called "warm roots salad," which several people ordered me to order. I hate to admit it, but they were right. This dish is mind-blowing in Reviva & Celia's understated way.
The "roots" part of "warm roots salad" refers, literally, to edible roots (well, and tubers). The original featured sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes, despite being a native of the Americas), which I'd never encountered before, along with beets and sweet potatoes, all roasted to perfection and tossed with a bit of feta cheese.
Whenever I see sunchokes start to appear among my farm box selections, I make Reviva & Celia's warm roots salad. I've made a few tweaks along the way. I make this into a meal-in-a-bowl by serving it with a grain; quinoa and amaranth are my favorites. I usually omit the cheese to keep it parve, and drizzle a bit of raw tahini and date syrup (silan) over top. And I've tweaked the name, too: I call it Tel Aviv Roots. Roots, as in potatoes, and roots, as in origins. Tel Aviv will always hold prime real estate in my culinary arc, not to mention my internal landscape.
Tel Aviv Roots Grain Bowl with Tahini + Silan Drizzle (parve + vegan)
- 5-6 knobs sunchokes - also called Jerusalem artichokes; see notes for substitution ideas
- 4 small sweet potatoes - or 2 large
- 3-4 beets - regular or golden
- 3-4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp coarse salt - or ½ Tbsp kosher salt
For the grain bowl base:
- 1 cup quinoa, or your favorite whole grain
- 1-2 cups water or vegetable stock - 1 for fluffier grains, up to 2 for softer grains
For the drizzle:
- ¼ cup raw tahini
- 1 Tbsp silan (date syrup
First, set up the grains to cook:
- Before you begin cutting up the vegetables, set your grains of choice to cook. If you like your grains dry and fluffy, use 1 cup water or stock per 1 cup of dry whole grains; if you prefer softer, porridge-like grains, use 1 ½ to 2 cups of water/stock per 1 cup of dry whole grains.
- To cook on the stovetop over a low flame, or in a rice cooker using the "brown rice" setting, add the desired amount of water/stock, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes. To cook in an instant pot, use no more than 1 ½ cups water and cook on Manual - High Pressure for 5 minutes, then let the steam release naturally, which will take about 20 minutes.
Roast the vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 385°F / 195°C. Line a rimmed sheet pan to hold all your cut-up veg.
- First, prepare the sunchokes: Scrub them well and cut off any rough edges. Then, cut them in half, so there is a flat edge. I leave them unpeeled, but remove any particularly rough spots with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Place the sunchokes cut-side down on the sheet pan.
- Next, prepare the beets: Trim the beets and peel them, while raw, with a vegetable peeler. Slice them in thick slices root to tip and arrange next to the sunchokes on the sheet pan.
- Chop the sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into thick cubes. Add them to the sheet pan.
- Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season well with salt. Roast in the hot oven for 35-40 minutes, until well carmelized
Assemble the bowls:
- Whisk the tahini and silan together in a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt. (If you prefer, you can keep them separate and drizzle each in turn, as I often do.)
- Spoon about ½ cup cooked grains into a bowl. Arrange the roasted vegetables over the grains, and drizzle the tahini-silan mixture over top.